First, I’d have to do a lot of research to figure out which organizations are really what they say they are. Names like “Lands for Life” (“Lands for Private Profit”), remind us that you can’t judge a book by its cover. (And that PR departments are masters of deception.) So that would take a while. Sending $10 or $20 to the wrong group, well, that’s not such a big deal, but I wouldn’t want to be giving or lending several thousand to the bad guys by mistake.
And of course it’s not all black and white. A solar energy company may keep its female engineers at the secretarial level. So are they the good guys or the bad guys?
And even good intentions are not good enough. I’d need to know which groups are really going to make a difference. There’s no point in funding something that’s just an ineffectual feel-good enterprise. Which organizations have what it takes to really do something? I have no idea. Because I don’t know what it takes. So I guess I’d have to hire someone to advise me, perhaps an ex-loan officer, someone who can look at a business plan and tell me whether it’ll go. I’d also have to hire someone to assess the research plan. I mean, that guy who claims he has the technology (and it’s cheap and portable) to neutralize radioactive material – is that for real?
Then I’d have to figure out how best to distribute all that money. $100,000 to ten groups? $50,000 to twenty? The whole million to one?
And that sort of depends on what I decide about priorities, about problems and solutions. How best to change/save the planet? (With or without the human species?) Do I support those out to save our ecological environment because without that we’re toast, or do I figure we have time to get to the root and focus on education programs, or do I decide we don’t have time for anything but coercion and get behind political/legislative powers?
So, no thank you, I don’t want to be a millionaire. Fulfilling the responsibility that comes with a million dollars would be a full-time job for at least a year. And frankly, I’d rather sit and watch the sun sparkle on the lake.